The 14th annual Adventures in Advertising Sales Convention was held July 22-24 at The Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

NEENAH, WISCONSIN (September 18, 2009) – Beautiful Lake Geneva was the backdrop for Adventures in Advertising’s 14th Annual Sales Convention, which was held July 22-24 at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. This year’s convention brought together professionals, strategies, tools and tactics—all under the event’s “Elements For Success” theme—for a two-and-one-half day program that featured education workshops, a supplier tradeshow, business updates, systems training, a fashion show, awards dinner and entertainment.

AIA owners, suppliers and staff gather before the awards dinner at the 14th annual AIA Sales Convention in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Education is always emphasized during the convention, and this year was no exception. Twelve education sessions were eligible for MAS/CAS credit, including “Time Got You Trapped” facilitated by industry veteran Roni Wright, MAS, and “Consumer Product Safety – The Most Serious Challenge We Face” from PPAI President Steve Slagle, CAE.

“The tips from the seminars were very applicable to the business climate of today,” said Mike Freestone, CAS, owner of Holland, Michigan-based AIA/Freestone Design. “The AIA annual convention is must do, and this was the best yet.”

This year’s event also includes something new: Supplier Speed Learning Sessions. In this two-hour program, attendees not only learned product benefits and applications but also saw case histories in action from 14 suppliers: 8th Floor Promotions (AITG Business Gifts, Awardcraft, Visions Awards), BAGMAKERS Inc., BIC Graphic USA, The Book Company, Gemline, Journalbooks/Timeplanner Calendars, PPAI, PremiumWear Inc., Punch Products USA, Sabina, Sanford Business-to-Business, Seville Corporation, Sweda Company LLC and Universal Strap Inc.

Attendees were also able to spend more time with suppliers during the annual Supplier Show. This five-hour private tradeshow and reception featured more than 100 of AIA’s MVP suppliers.

Even more in-depth training was offered from two local suppliers. Sanford Business-to-Business and Jaffa conducted tours of their respective factories in nearby Janesville, Wisconsin, prior to the convention.

“As a first time attendee I can’t compare this event to years past, but the time I spent in Lake Geneva further reinforced my decision to come on board with AIA last year,” said Jerry Milwit, owner of Glen Allen, Virginia-based AIA/Dominion Promotions. “The educational sessions were relevant and having more than 100 MVP suppliers focused completely on us was invaluable.”

In a SOAR session at the AIA Sales Convention, the G-Men—a.k.a. Greg Iott, AIA vice president of marketing services; Guy Dupuis, MAS, AIA regional manager; Mike Irwin, MAS, AIA national director of sales; Gary Goodhart, CAS, AIA regional manager; and Greg Armstrong, AIA regional manager—prove that growing sales is not an impossible mission.

In addition to business updates that kept all AIA owners and affiliates informed about the latest corporate news, the convention also included training on the SOAR marketing and sales system as well as the ISIS streamlined order processing system, the two new proprietary business operating systems introduced by AIA in 2009.

The fourth annual fashion show featured apparel and accessories from 30 suppliers, including Ash City, Dunbrooke and SanMar. Like past years, the surprise music theme—artists from Wisconsin—was unveiled as AIA owners strutted the catwalk to tunes such as “Blister in the Sun” by the Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Violent Femmes, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by Madison, Wisconsin’s Timbuk 3, and “Closer To Free” by Waukesha, Wisconsin’s BoDeans. And since AIA owners were able to take home all of the products modeled for use as samples during upcoming sales calls, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular components of the convention.

The awards reception and dinner was another highlight. Owners, suppliers and staff were recognized in 15 categories, including the Multimillion Dollar Summit, Million Dollar Circle of Excellence, Heavy Hitter, Velocity and President’s Club awards.

After the awards presentation, attendees were treated to a surprise guest: psychic entertainer Ross Johnson, who combined the elements of extrasensory perception, magic and mind over matter to create an entertaining and highly interactive experience. One of the hallmarks of his performance was the “envelope demonstration.” Attendees were asked to place questions and messages in sealed envelopes. Then, with his eyes sealed completely shut, he answered the questions accurately…and returned the still-unopened envelopes to their stunned owners.

The event concluded with a luncheon honoring all attendees and a closing session to wrap up everything learned and experienced in the previous days.

“After 14 years, AIA owners still say that each convention is better than the last, and this year was no exception,” said Greg Iott, AIA vice president of marketing services. “We saw great interaction between the owners, suppliers and our corporate staff in sharing information on how we can all work together to grow our businesses. Our position of a ‘community of professionals, geared for growth’ was truly evident at the event.”

About AIA:

Neenah, Wisconsin-based Adventures in Advertising offers a promotional consulting opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to grow an independent business while being backed by extensive support resources. Founded in 1981, the company began offering franchises in 1994. Today, its network has grown to more than 300 promotional consultants that help corporations and businesses develop marketing and advertising programs, select promotional products from top brands and build integrated marketing solutions.

Since 2002, AIA and its owners have been awarded 19 PPAI Pyramid Awards, 11 of which were Gold Pyramids for the outstanding use of promotional products in employee incentives, tradeshows and exhibitions, self-promotion, goodwill, not-for-profit, and business-to-business programs. Additionally, AIA is ranked No. 11 on Counselor magazine’s 2008 Top 40 Distributors.

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Media Contact:
Lisa Horn, CAS

Company Contact:
Rebecca Kollmann, MAS